CFH Latin America Initiative

The following is an event recap by former CFH President Rick Kennedy on the Latin America Initiative of the CFH.

Hola!  Graduate student member of the “Asociacion Conference on Faith and History (organism afiliado a la American Historical Association)” should know that they were well represented in  Mexico City where CFH has begun to develop partnerships supporting Global Christian Scholarship.  Remember this was NOT a conference simply for Latin Americanists.  The Latin America Initiative of the CFH is designed to support the communication and shared purpose of scholar-historian-Christians from many disciplines and research interests who work in all the Americas.  At the end of the conference, at a meeting in a five hundred year old building where the Spanish Inquisition used to meet, the Spanish-speaking participants from all over Latin America gave hearty applause to the CFH in appreciation for our goal of All-American shared purpose.

I counted four of our US graduate student members giving papers along with maybe six or so other US graduate students in attendance.  The four giving papers were Joe Super (University of West Virginia), Erika Heigen (Yale University), Devin Manzullo-Thomas (Temple University) and Jonathan Mikes (School of Intercultural Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary).  A large number of graduate students from the University of Mexico attended too.  We hope all these scholars become the foundation for the future of CFH’s Latin American Initiative in Global Christian Scholarship.

Here is a copy of the program:  http://www.ftl-al.org/images/stories/Programa_FINAL_FINAL_Coloquio_Protestantismo_octubre_20111.pdf

Of the professors from the US who attended, several of us were woefully lacking in Spanish.  For any all-America partnerships in CFH to work, the language issue will be a problem while also being maybe the best kind of problem.  Unlike many other Global Christian programs where English is the default language known to most, a North-South American collaboration will find that the Spanish speakers and the English speakers are on an equal footing.  Most Spanish Scholars do not speak English.  Most US scholars do not speak Spanish.   There is an amazing array of  Spanish-language Christian scholarship that we in the US need to know.  It was evident at the conference in Mexico City that Spanish Speaking historians want to know better what we are doing.  We are entering a true partnership!  Neither Northerners or Southerners will dominate.  As Christians we fellowship.  Language has long been the great issue hindering a truly global Christianity.  With the Latin America Initiative we embrace the issue!

By the way:  Mexico City was wonderful!  The historic center is amazing.  The museums are everywhere and fascinating.  The Mexicans everywhere we went treated us very well.

Rick Kennedy

Professor of History

Point Loma Nazarene University

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